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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von M√ľnchhausen

Getting an Education in D&D

In late November, Wizards of the Coast posted a blurb on their website saying that Columbia University was planning on offering a 3-credit, graduate-level course in Dungeons and Dragons:

How would you like to take D&D for credit? Columbia University is planning a 3-credit graduate studies course on D&D -- in fact, researchers were here at WotC last week, interviewing members of R&D!
I wanted to blog about it then, but since I could find no supporting information, I figured I'd wait until I knew more.

Well, there's still no more information available on Columbia's planned course, but as you may already know, Barnes and Noble has recently begun running free online courses in a wide variety of topics. And one of their newest offerings is a course entitled "Discover Dungeons and Dragons", led by Eberron co-creator James Wyatt.

Introduced in 1974, Dungeons & Dragons is the leading fantasy role-playing game. D&D products are the benchmark for adventure role-playing game excellence.

As a beginning player, this course will guide you in understanding how D&D works, explaining the various worlds and characters types that it is based on, creating a D&D role for yourself, and understanding how your player role interacts in the world and with other characters. You will learn the extent of your abilities and the possibilities that lie ahead for your player, including magical spells, mythic quests, and epic battles with incredible monsters.

To play D&D, all that is required is a core rule book, D&D dice, a pencil, some paper, and imagination. With this course, you will be put in contact with a Dungeon Master who will guide your play through an adventure in which your character will perform feats and wage battles with other players, while gaining power, knowledge and experience.

Role-playing games have in the past been a topic of interest in sociological and psychological terms because it provides a window into the workings of psychological escapism, creates virtual economies, and explores the nature of myth. I will post an update if and when more information becomes available.

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Comments on Getting an Education in D&D
  Comment from Blogger Herself at Monday, January 02, 2006 4:38:00 PM
I think this is great. As I have commented in the past, it saddens me that traditional dice and paper role playing seems to have fallen out of fashion with the geek set. All of my HS nerd kids are into computer RPGs but none of them play D&D or similar games.
Maybe this will bring it back. Because, as limited as their social skills might be, they can be somewhat improved by weekly meetings over dice as opposed to solitary confinement at their computers!
  Comment from Blogger the sparrow at Tuesday, January 03, 2006 3:48:00 PM
So how many geek points do I get for taking the class? ;)
  Comment from Blogger Red Bull at Tuesday, January 03, 2006 5:23:00 PM
Four.

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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.